Shed a skin or two and cozy up inside your favorite burrow
with Planet Scumm #11, "Snake Eyes."
Inside, you'll find stories that wind a serpentine course through the realm between science fiction and fantasy. "Snake Eyes" was thoughtfully curated by Guest-Editor-in-Chief and Scumm alum Hailey Piper (The Worm and His Kings, Unfortunate Elements of My Anatomy), joined by a guest editorial team of illustrator Maura McGonagle (WITCH comic), Clare Fuller (Saving Daylight Magazine), and our own creative director, Alyssa Alarcón Santo.
We're proud to present the stories collected here to you, the reader, and hope that we can continue to highlight voices that have been traditionally underrepresented in science fiction and speculative fiction.
(Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this magazine. All opinions in this review are my own and are honest and unbiased.)
I can't recommend "Snake Eyes" enough. I haven't read the previous Planet Scumm issues, but I'm definitely interested in checking them out. I loved how many additional elements these sci-fi stories incorporated, from dystopia to cosmic horror. Furthermore, readers who are looking for LGBTQ+ representation will find it here. Then there were the wonderful illustrations by Maura McGonagle. Maura expertly captured the themes and added to the mysterious, creepy aura of the stories. Since multiple authors contributed to this issue, I'll give a brief review for each story. I honestly can't think of anything I didn't like in this magazine. If you're looking for an emotionally evocative, stimulating, creative speculative fiction magazine, you should check out Planet Scumm #11, "Snake Eyes."
"A Defiance of Violins" by Ana Gardner: Wow. That about sums up how I felt about this story, which turned out to be my favorite one of them all. Like other stories in the magazine, this one was expertly structured and the plot was intriguing. However, the clever main character and the powerful conclusion especially rang with me.
"The Hollow Stars in Heaven" by Avery Kit Malone: Unique and thought-provoking, this story came with an incredible, shocking twist that made me cheer. Loved it.
"Hivemind" by LC von Hessen: Nightmarishly surreal at times, "Hivemind" was a bit hard to follow but was engaging overall. I enjoyed this story's cynical tone and the dry wit of the main character.
"The Secret of Theta Pi" by Stephanie Gray: This is my second favorite because I loved the powerful relationship between the characters. Hauntingly sorrowful yet ultimately bittersweet, this tale of friendship stole my heart, and the touch of cosmic horror was well done.
"The Long Sleep" by Diana Fenves: Unsettling. That's the word I'd use to describe "The Long Sleep." I liked the twist at the end, and for such a short work, the main character was impressively easy to grow attached to. "The Long Sleep" was hard to stop reading.
"Real Sugar Is Hard to Find" by Sim Kern: With an endearing plot, this one really tugged at the heartstrings. Sim Kern's delivery was excellent. The contrast between the hopeful moments and the depressing dystopian themes made for a poignant read.
"Ma Dresden" by Laura Barker: What I loved most about "Ma Dresden" was the conversational narrative that was interspersed with dark humor. The hair-raising conclusion was the cherry on top of this entertaining story.
"An Eventual Feast" by Lindsay King-Miller: I’m not usually big on zombies, but this delivered a chilling new twist to the trope that amazed me. Lindsay built up the suspense expertly, keeping my heart pounding throughout the story. As thought-provoking as it was unnerving, "An Eventual Feast" was a perfect closing story to this masterpiece of a magazine.
Trigger Warning: The works within this magazine contain some mature subject matter, including violence.